Looking Outward to See Inside

April 22, 2010 Scot Marcotte

We might be doing it all wrong.  We’ve spent years doing what we thought was right, but now we can know for sure.

HR communicators have had an “HR knows best” perspective on the ways to entice and engage employees to take action.  That could all change now. Our colleagues on the external marketing side have known for years that the best way to motivate actions is to track outreach, measure effectiveness and adjust accordingly.We can – and should – do that, too.  In many cases, the technology is right at our fingertips.

The Marketing department likely has a robust customer relationship management (CRM) tool that tracks each potential customer, their habits and the effectiveness of outreach efforts. Why not use the same tool to look inward? Why not hook it up to our portals, websites, social media, print and in-person communication efforts to see just how effective we are and how effective we can be?

HR has access to the type of information that makes marketers salivate – demographic, savings, earnings, health conditions, to name a few. Certainly, we have an ethical and legal responsibility to protect that data. Morally, though, perhaps we should be looking at ways to use certain aspects of that data to help our employees make more informed decisions about the programs we offer. Using a CRM alongside some degree of that data – depending on the degree of organizational paternalism/individualism – we can push messaging that encourages the right actions for our employees.

Applying the CRM model, we monitor the messages we send out, or post, or even hear, and measure which are having the most impact. We can also measure, to the individual, the right medium or media for those messages. Using self service, employees can augment the data by letting us know what information they need, what media they prefer and the frequency they desire.

In this way, HR can be more than just a top-down disseminator of information.  We can be a warehouse of content, a multi-channel distributor and a metrics-driven arbiter of effective internal marketing efforts.  Maybe we can even get our Marketing folks to pay for it!

We’ll dig deeper into this topic in future posts.  We’ll explore current studies of social media, behavioral economics, complex systems, marketing theory and other relevant topics that help us better understand our employees and encourage them to take the best possible actions.

 

Global Technology and Delivery Solutions, Buck U.S.

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